We’re on our annual Christmas break (12/27-12/31, returning 1/3/11), a week of non-stop drinking and putting our stock of powdered-dwarf-penis aphrodisiacs to good use family time and anime hairdressing holiday merriment, but we never like to let the stew stop bubbling entirely.

As in past years, we’ll be featuring six articles from the 2010 archives every day this week, with each gnome picking three favorites that they wrote. If you’re new to the Stew, or if you don’t pop in every day, this is a great way to catch up on the past year’s highlights.

Merry Christmas and happy Kick a Kobold in the Junk Day New Year from all of us at Gnome Stew!

Kurt “Telas” Schneider

1. Someone Else’s House: It took another Gnome’s article for me to analyze my own dislike of ‘literary’ settings (those in movies and books), but it all boils down to the difference between storytelling and gaming, and personal preference. Your mileage may vary, but this is my take on it.

2. Mad Props and the Character Box: Props add to the immersion of a game, and ‘fiddly bits’ are just plain fun. Here are a few ideas for props, along with a means of storing them for your players.

3. Quit Trolling and Start Rolling: One of my pet peeves is GMs who would rather talk about gaming instead of running a game. Talk is fine and good, but when you’re not running a game, can you really call yourself a GM? Get behind the screen and roll some dice!


1. The Book of Vincent: GMing Apocalypse World: My review of Apocalypse World revealed to me what kind of GM I really wanted to be. In this non-review, I talk about the Master of Ceremonies, and the great advice that the rules give for how to fully embrace this type of GM. For me this was the most personally transforming article I wrote this year.

2. GM Performance Review: ‘Tis the season. As the year comes to a close, I am at that point of evaluating my own GM skills and making some resolutions for next year. This article is all about how to self-evaluate and to solicit external evaluations, in an effort to improve as a GM, which is something every GM can afford to do. It also lead me to the next article…

3. Prep-Lite Manifesto – The Template: After some evaluation of my GMing skills and the influence of the Master of Ceremonies from Apocalypse World, I decided to end my years of long note taking and embrace a more improv style of GMing. But rather than jumping in head first, I conceived of this idea of Prep-Lite; of only prepping the thing that you need. After some experimentation with it, I came up with a template that aids me greatly. My New Years resolution is that there will be more articles from the Prep-Lite manifesto.